April 9, 2001

Weekly news wrapup: Torvalds rips OS X, BSDi sells to Wind River

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross

It was a strange week in the Open Source business world: Normally laid-back Linux creator Linus Torvalds ripped on a competitor, a BSD company was purchased by a proprietary technology company, Great Bridge veered away from an Open Source business plan, and Red Hat became the second Linux company being sued over its initial stock offering.

Whew! And then there was Linux's presence (or lack thereof) at the Comdex technology fest, rumors of an Indrema meltdown, and the closing of an experiment to link Open Source developers with companies actually willing to pay them money.

Let's take these in order:

Torvalds doesn't like Mac's new OS X. In fact, he called it a "piece of crap" in his upcoming autobiography. Gee, Linus, don't hold back; tell us what you really think.

Wind River buys BSDi. Embedded software maker Wind River Systems bought Berkeley Software Designs Inc., the maker of the BSDi operating system. The move left several in the tech press asking (and trying to answer) why, and others wondering how the marriage of Open Source and proprietary will work.

Great Bridge to support Solaris with PostgreSQL. The announcement left some people commenting that Great Bridge was doing things backwards, moving from Open Source to closed.

Red Hat's IPO prompts a lawsuit, or at least threats of one. The class-action threat is similar to the one NewsForge owner VA Linux is facing: The lawyers are complaining that the underwriters mishandled the IPO.

Linux was at Comdex, in the form of the almost-released VR3 handheld from Agenda Computing and the OEone Operating Environment for Webtops. NewsForge news editor Dan Berkes reported on those sales pitches, but left Chicago feeling this spring's Comdex was "no big deal." The Open Source contingent was "a small subset of this slimmed down show."

Indrema on its last legs? It certainly sounds that way for the Linux-based gaming console. The company founder said this week that "we'll know in 30 days" if there's enough money to finish the project.

No such luck for SourceXchange, the service set up by Collab.Net to link Open Source developers with companies. Several reports said the service is shutting down because of lack of interest from companies.

In other news, not really business related, Linux kernel developers got together for a summit last weekend, and one goal of the group's was faster development schedules. Developers also put together a laundry list of new features for future Linux kernels.

New in NewsForge

Stories unique to NewsForge this week:

Freelancer Wayne Earl reports on the Subversion Project, an alternative to version control program cvs. A couple of the Subversion hackers spoke about their project at the Silicon Valley Linux Users Group last week, and Wayne was there.

Business columnist Jack Bryar reports on all the areas where Linux has either caught Windows or could catch it soon.

Hardware reviewer Jeff Field takes the Mambo-X MP3-CD player for a spin. One great feature: It uses the standard ISO-9660 format for CDs, so any operating system that has software capable of burning a standard CD is compatible, including Linux.

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